Pope Francis held his first Christmas Eve mass in the Vatican on Tuesday by highlighting the role played by humble shepherds in the Nativity, as thousands flocked to the historic site of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem.
A UN General Assembly committee has agreed a landmark first resolution on women's rights defenders such as Malala Yousafzai, despite a hard fought campaign by an alliance including the Vatican to weaken the measure.
Pope Francis on Friday called for the Catholic Church and its faithful to rid themselves of earthly concerns like St Francis of Assisi during a pilgrimage to the saint's Italian hometown.
President Barack Obama had warm words Wednesday for what he sees as Pope Francis' inclusive attitude in recent remarks urging the Roman Catholic church not to focus only on abortion or gays.
The Catholic Church has called for a global day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria and against any armed intervention, with Pope Francis scheduled to host a mass vigil on St Peter's Square.
Pope Francis reached out to Muslims on Sunday to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and called on them and Christians to promote mutual respect.
Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, declaring that it is not his place to judge them -- while also condemning the Vatican's reported gay lobby as a "serious problem".
The Vatican's first-ever envoy to Malaysia has apologised for supporting the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims after he was summoned by the foreign minister.
Brazil's social turmoil over poor public services and endemic political corruption appears to have abated but could flare again during Pope Francis' visit later this month.
The Roman Catholic Church weighed in Sunday on Venezuela's political crisis, with Pope Francis expressing deep concern and calling for dialogue in the wake of a disputed presidential election.
Pope Francis on Sunday completed his installation as pontiff at an emotional ceremony in which he formally took possession of Rome's St John Lateran basilica -- the official seat of the city's bishop.
Pope Francis has given his first pronouncement on the Catholic Church's pervasive paedophile priest scandal, urging Vatican disciplinarians to act "with determination" against the scourge.
Pope Francis prayed for a "political solution" in Syria and for "reconciliation" on the Korean peninsula in his first Easter Sunday message in front of a crowd in St Peter's Square.
Pope Francis is to celebrate his first Easter vigil on Saturday after praying for peace in the Middle East and stronger Christian-Muslim dialogue at a torch-lit ceremony for Good Friday.
Pope Francis marked his first Good Friday with a traditional torch-lit ceremony around the Colosseum in Rome and prayers for a Middle East "torn apart by injustice and conflicts".
Pope Francis will stamp his personal touch on Easter celebrations starting by washing the feet of young prisoners on Thursday as he stresses the importance of reaching out to those in need.
Pope Francis has donned the symbols of papal power, vowing to embrace the "poorest" at a grand inauguration in the Vatican as leader of a troubled Roman Catholic Church.
China's angry reaction to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's attendance at the inauguration of Pope Francis on Tuesday is the first taste of a long-running dispute..
Starting with the historic moment when the first Latin American pontiff greeted the crowds in St Peter's Square after his election on Wednesday, Pope Francis has shown a lively sense of humour.
Pope Francis has warned that the troubled Catholic Church risks becoming little more than a charity with no spiritual foundations if it fails to undergo renewal.